03 Jun

Bold Daniel [Laws K34]

Bold Daniel_Gordon

It was on the fourteenth day of January,
From England we set sail,
We were bound down to Laguire,
With a sweet and pleasant gale;
The Roving Lizzie we are called,
Bold Daniel is my name,
And we sailed away from Laguire,
Just out of the Spanish Main.

And when we reached Laguire,
Our orders did read so,
“When you discharge your cargo,
It’s sail for Callao,”
Our Captain called all hands right aft,
And unto us did say,
“Here is money for you today, my lads,
For tomorrow we’ll sail away.”

It was early the next morning,
As daylight did draw nigh,
The man from at the masthead
A strange sail did espy;
With a black flag under her mizzen peak,
Came bearing down that way;
“I’ll be bound she is some pirate,”
Bold Daniel he did say.

In the course of three or four hours,
This pirate ranged alongside,
And with a speaking trumpet,
“Where are you from?” he cries.
“The Roving Lizzie we are called,
Bold Daniel is my name,
And we sailed away from Laguire,
Just out of the Spanish Main.”

“Come, back your topsails to your mast,
And heave your ship under my lee.”
“Oh, no! oh, no!” cried Daniel,
I’d rather sink at sea.”
They hoisted up their bloody flag,
Our hearts to terrify.
With their big guns to our small arms,
At us they did let fly.

We mounted four six-pounders
To fight a hundred men,
And when the action did begin,
It was just about half-past ten;
We mounted four six-pounders,
Our crew being twenty-two;
In the course of an hour and a quarter,
Those pirates we did subdue.

And now our prize we’ve taken
Unto Columbia’s shore,
To that dear old place in America,
They call sweet Baltimore;
We’ll drink success to Daniel,
Likewise his gallant crew,
That fought and beat that Pirate
With his noble twenty-two.


We’re back to the repertoire of Minnesota singer Michael Cassius Dean (1857-1931) this week with a song about piracy. The “Laguire” mentioned in this song must be La Guaira, the chief port city of Venezuela which was actually sacked by English pirates in 1743. The song is relatively rare in tradition. The other three versions I have found were collected in coastal areas of Maine, Newfoundland and England. Mike Dean sang two other songs about pirates “The Flying Cloud” and “Paul Jones the Privateer” and perhaps was fascinated with the theme after working as a sailor on the Great Lakes himself.

The above transcription is my own made from my digital copy of a recording made of Dean’s singing in September 1924 by folk song collector Robert Winslow Gordon. Gordon recorded Dean singing the first verse only. The full text comes from Dean’s 1922 self-published songster The Flying Cloud.

More about this song at The Traditional Ballad Index